Nitrogen-air tires are often touted as safer than regular tires on smaller trucks.
But the vehicles are less stable, and they don’t last as long, according to a new study.
The study by researchers at the University of Colorado-Boulder and the Colorado Department of Transportation found that using nitrogen- air tires on a truck that weighs less than 26,000 pounds (15,300 kilograms) would significantly lower its rolling resistance compared with regular tires.
Nitrogen air tires typically have a higher sidewall diameter and a thinner sidewall profile, making them less prone to rolling over bumps and ruts.
In addition, nitrogen-in-air-tires are more stable than regular-air ones, making the vehicles more likely to roll over debris, according the study.
But they can be a safety concern for larger trucks, which are more prone to rollovers.
The researchers found that when using a nitrogen air tire on larger trucks weighing more than 26 of those tons (14,800 kilograms), a 25 percent increase in rolling resistance was observed over regular tires with a similar sidewall thickness.
And when using nitrogen air tires, the researchers also found that the vehicles’ rolling resistance fell by a whopping 20 percent.
In short, a nitrogen tire that weighs 28 to 30 percent less than regular ones can be an attractive option for larger truck owners.
This isn’t the first time the U.S. has seen a crash involving nitrogen-aerosol tires.
In 2014, a tractor-trailer crashed into a residential building in the Bronx.
The crash killed eight people and injured more than 300.
A decade ago, a 27,000-pound truck collided with a tractor in Oklahoma, killing five people and injuring more than 180.
A 2009 study found that while the nitrogen-insulated tires are safer, they’re also less durable than regular, hard-surface tires, which have better tread and wear characteristics.
Nitrous oxide is a form of air pollution that has been linked to health problems including heart disease, lung damage and strokes.
The U.N. Environment Programme says nitrogen-rich air has been implicated in the deaths of thousands of people worldwide, most notably in parts of Asia and Africa.
But in the U and Europe, nitrogen is used as a byproduct of the manufacturing process.
The Environmental Protection Agency has said it’s reviewing nitrogen-based fuels and materials, and the U.”s Department of Energy is developing new ways to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions.